Thursday Island

This is our story

Our story begins in Rotuma Island. It is the mid to late 1800's and it was a time when sailing ships frequently stopped over in Rotuma to recruit Sailors and Pearl Divers for the thriving Pearl Industry. Rotumans were considered to be reliable and were renowned Pearl Divers. They were no doubt given stories of great adventure and riches to be made in the wide world out yonder.

It was during this period that two brothers Raki (our great grandfather) and Uasile were tempted to leave their idyllic island home and venture forth to make their fortune. Their parents were Epeli from Marama and Furserue of Mal'ia and they were living in Mal'ia in the district of Oinafa at that time.

Little is yet known of the journey from Rotuma however the brothers were taken to Erub Island situated in the North Eastern Torres Straits There is anecdotal evidence to indicate that the pearl divers worked under very difficult and sometimes inhumane condtions. It is believed that often times the master and officers of the vessels would take up positions around the deck railings with rifles pointed to the surface of the sea. When any of the divers were exhausted and swam toward the ship, these officers would shoot bullets in to the water around the divers forcing them to continue diving

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